Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Proverbs 20; 1 Corinthians 12:14–26; Jeremiah 9:23, 24; Proverbs 21; Matthew 25:35–40; Proverbs 22
It was a tough call for Deborah Turness, but the president of NBC News felt it was the right thing to do. On January 30, longtime news anchor Brian Williams misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering news of the Iraq War in 2003. On February 10, Turness issued an email notifying NBC News staff of an executive decision to suspend Williams immediately for six months without pay.
It’s noteworthy to both observe the strong action and the reason for the suspension. “As Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times,” Turness stated.1
Lots of news agencies took the opportunity to tout their good records. Some think giving a millionaire a six-month “sabbatical” isn’t much of a penalty. Steve Burke, a NBC News chief executive called the suspension “severe” and indicated that Williams’ actions are inexcusable, but that he deserves a “second chance.” Some critics think he should have been fired saying that it would be difficult for viewers to trust him again, even though he had a “special relationship” as a news anchor for the past 22 years.
Regardless of how you feel about Brian Williams, the story highlights the sensitivity when there has been a breach of trust. Our Sabbath school lesson this week looks at the wisdom of truthfulness. The memory verse states, “There are many who say, ‘You can trust me!’ But can they be trusted?” (Proverbs 20:6 CEV).
We’ve all been down this road. “I was simply trying to make a point!” we might say to excuse a white lie. How long would you stay friends with someone who kept saying, “I was just kidding,” or “I didn’t really mean what I said.” What prompts us to twist tales? We want to look good. We want others to look up to us. But in the end, it always backfires.
How much better to follow Jesus’ clear advice: “And don’t say anything you don’t mean… Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong” (Matthew 5:33, 37). Let’s be models of truthfulness. Let’s choose to never distort truth in word or action. It’s an honest word to the wise.
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